Aunjanue Ellis stars as Aminata Diallo in the BET mini-series The Book of Negroes. (Photo: Joe Alblas, Conquering Lion Pictures, Out of Africa Pictures)

*BET kicked off the mini-series “The Book of Negroes Monday night with a stunning debut by Shailyn Pierre-Dixon as the young Aminata, whose riveting performance set the tone for the gracious and fiercely potent Aunjanue Ellis as the adult Aminata Diallo.

Ms. Ellis added beauty, fluidity and seething bravery to every realistic and detailed account of the woman’s life that began as a girl in the village of Bayo (in Segou, Mali) and who suffered the turmoils of the middle passages, onto the slave trading block, then to the plantation and subsequently navigated every gritty and disgusting episode of her existence in the post Atlantic slave trade in America.

Shailyn Pierre-Dixon

In the midst of it all Diallo maintains her faith, fights for love, clinches her dignity and intertwines with fellow servants, slaves, masters and cohorts.  This is the story according to actual historical documents about former slaves in British America who were granted their freedom by the British as a reward for their loyalty. Those former slaves reportedly migrated to Nova Scotia, Canada. The BET mini-series brilliantly directed by Clement Virgo blends facts as well as fiction and is based on the book by Lawrence Hill.

After much critical acclaim as a novel and as a cinematic production, “The Book of Negros” has trekked around the globe to Washington, D.C., to Cannes, France and to other forums and screenings inspiring and educating audiences about these unsung heroines and heroes who hail from the pages of history.   Actor Lyriq Bent takes on a whole new understanding of black love now that he has played the role of Chekura Tiano.

Actress Aunjanue Ellis demystifies the quintessence of the strong black woman in her portrayal of Aminata Diallo.

For a full cast list and to view “The Book of Negroes” timeline and production profile click here.  “The Book of Negroes” continues on BET tonight, Tuesday, February 17 and concludes tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18 at 8:00 PM/7:00 PM Central.  “The Book of Negroes” is Executive Produced by Damon D’Oliveira.